Bonnyville Mayor Ernie Isley sees development on the fringes of town as an opportunity to share costs rather than as a potential growth inhibitor or competitor to what's in town.
Isley said last week he doesn't expect the town will make any presentation in opposition to proposed developments in the MD when those projects go to MD council's July 7 omnibus public hearing.
That hearing is scheduled to receive public feedback on four new area structure plans next to or very close to Bonnyville and Cold Lake, as well as land use bylaw changes for the MD. A key land use bylaw change that's proposed would allow for the potential of apartment-style development in serviced subdivisions on the town's fringes.
Isley said he thinks serviced subdivisions on Bonnyville's fringe will work for the town, as long as the developers of the projects pay the offsite levies to tap into existing infrastructure, just as in-town developers already do.
“If they don't pay the offsites, they won't get the water, it's that simple,” Isley said. “It's a straight-forward business deal. There's no way the town is going to subsidize those developments. But I think if we can make a dollar co-operating with them to offset some of the costs our ratepayers face, I have no problem with it.”
Offsite levies are collected by municipalities from developers who want to tap into offsite infrastructure such as water and sewage treatment plants and major utility trunk lines serving more than one subdivision.
There have already been ongoing servicing discussions for two projects outside the town limits, as well as fringe projects in town.
One of the key players on the local development scene is local businessman Garry Lapointe.
Lapointe is involved with two Moose Lake area projects with KeyPointe Development Corporation (Lakeside Village and Wood Creek RV Resort), and is also partners in two projects on the east edge of town: East Gate and Signature Estates. East Gate is a mix of highway commercial and residential that's in town, north of 50th Avenue and east of Highway 28. Signature Estates is proposed for a quarter section in the MD south of 50th Avenue/Secondary Highway 659 and east of 34th Street. It's one of two projects in the MD that would require town water and sewer services for development as it's now proposed.
Lapointe said plans for Signature Estates now call for 105 single family serviced lots in the .6 to .7 acre range, as well as a block of land set aside for potential higher density development aimed at older adults. He's hoping to have the area structure plan and related zoning changes in place by the end of August, to allow for work to start on the new subdivision in the fall.
The town already has a sewer trunk line that connects with the parcel, Isley noted. That same line would ultimately also serve lines from the in-town Beau Vista residential subdivision to the west, and the East Gate project to the northwest.
Lapointe and his partners would ultimately like to see a mall of some sort on the East Gate land, along with other commercial development, smaller lot residential projects and some condos and apartments.
To the west of Bonnyville, MD council will have to consider Wood Creek RV resort, 120 lots for cabins and RVs on the south shore of Moose lake, southwest of Bonnyville Beach. The upcoming public hearing won't consider the proposed ASP for that project, but it will likely be dealt with in the near future.
Lapointe said the KeyPointe initiative is targeting mostly summer residents, but that cabins will be built as all-season residential units. The project also calls for a $1.5 million community centre with a small store, space for fitness activities, and room for family gatherings.
It will be serviced with water cisterns and sewer services, but they won't be hooked to the town's network, Lapointe said. Lots in the project are expected to sell for between $80,000 and $200,000. They won't be lakefront lots, as the project sets aside a strip of environment reserve along the lake. There will be designed beach and boat launch areas of Wood Creek. Wood Creek buyers are expected to be around 20 to 25 per cent local, with the rest coming from places such as Edmonton, Lloydminster and Fort McMurray, Lapointe said.
KeyPointe's other Moose Lake project, 105 lots at Lakeside Village, is envisioned as having town supplied water and sewer services. It's proposed as having a mix of larger single family and duplex lots. The single-family lots will be large enough to accommodate three-car garages, Lapointe said. Like Wood Creek, the lakeshore itself will be environmental reserve.
“As opposed to lots being lakefront, the community is lakefront,” Lapointe said.
Lakeside Village will be part of the July 7 public hearing.
The area fits well with servicing, because it's immediately across the road from Bonnyville's water treatment plant. Sewage would have to be pumped about a mile and a half back to Bonnyville. Lapointe said KeyPointe foresees construction on Lakeside Village as starting in 2011 or 2012. Like Wood Creek, it would also have a community facility for recreation. As well, it's a relatively short trek via golf cart to the Bonnyville Golf and Country Club.